Miss Apocalypse

Damien sighed as he saw another zombie down the road. It was the only one he could spot. Otherwise, the perimeter was clear. The safe thing to do was to use the sniper rifle on his back and pick off the undead from afar. Sadly easy was not always best.

Sighing he turned around to Harriet. She was the other guard in his shift. "I'll sweep the perimeter of hostiles. Back in five minutes." She gave a nod and pushed an "acknowledged" through her lips.

He spared a glance at my employer and her toy. Both busy going through the soul chips. It always made Damien wince seeing it, as It reminded him how unfair the world had become.

Quickly he made his way over to the zombie. It looked pretty rotten. Decomposing for maybe a half year. Damien picked up a big stone and threw it at the zombie. The deceased stumbled and a moment later Damien's knife found its way into the skull of the undead.

Unlike movies and TV, it was nearly always this easy to kill them. Damien's knife hadn't even left the skull when the corpse vanished. It reminded him of the games his nephew used to play. But this world was no video game no matter how many parallels it had.

He gave his surroundings a once over and then made his way back towards the obelisk. The dark stone was towering thirty feet over the crossroad it was located on. Besides it was Harriet and the two woman they protected.

"South perimeter is clear," he told Harriet when he was arriving at the group.

"Other quadrants are silent," she replied curtly.

He nodded and resumed standing guard. Inwardly he had to suppress a grin. He was sure Harriet's military speech was as fake as his own. Not that they would out each other. They were a good team and as long as their employer wasn't the wiser they would continue as is.

"Maybe this one," Zoey Mclaughlin said and held up one of the credit card sized crystal soul chips. A moment later a man appeared out of thin air. He looked confused and disoriented. Damien knew why. Not long ago he had been in the same position as this man now. "Are you useful?" Zoey wanted to know.

The man, however, had questions of his own. "Where am I? Why was I trapped in this room? What happened to this world?"

As the man stepped closer Damien quickly leveled his rifle and stepped between Zoey and the man. "State your previous job or return to the room. Your choice," Damien growled.

Visibly intimidated he started to stammer. "I .. Accountant. I worked for ..." He couldn't say more as he vanished into thin air.

It sucked. Damien knew that. He would have liked to tell the man the answers he knew. Not that he had many himself. But this world was unfair and Damien's employer, Zoey Mclaughlin, even more so.

"Can't you flip all?" Sierra Ferrell whined and gave a pout.

Damien had to grind his teeth to not say anything he would regret. Sierra was Zoey's companion. How that came to be was before his time under Zoey. Sierra had been a model and diva in the old world. In the new world, much of it hadn't changed. She still was a diva and very demanding.

How Zoey could tolerate her was beyond Damien. Even more so knowing that Zoey had a short fuse. But the whole situation made no sense to begin with. Zoey could summon four people. She could use these summons to have four guards. Instead, she had two guards and a demanding dress up doll. Despite that the world was slowly rotting away Zoey insisted on dressing Sierra up and prancing her around.

It was a calculated risk, but Damien stepped in before Sierra managed to push Zoey into a bad mood. "Miss Zoey. Perhaps we should move on," he started.

"Why?" She demanded to know. Her voice already tinged with anger.

Of course telling her that the sun was about to set wouldn't matter. Neither would the fact that soon the obelisk would reset and start spawning zombies again.

"You asked me to remind you that there is a boutique you liked two streets over. If we go now we have enough time to check there and still be in the safe house at nightfall. Of course, we can stay here..."

"No. No. Brilliant idea," Zoey exclaimed. She flipped the rest of the soul chips and stood up.

While Zoey and Sierra were busy gathering their things Damien caught a nod of appreciation from Harriet. Slowly he had learned to steer Zoey. Not with logical reasoning, but with egotistical ones.

Taking the lead Damien's group moved out.


It was an hour later they made it to the store. Once again the limiting factor had been Sierra. Not that it was her fault. She had to wear high heels chosen by Zoey. As the summoner of them, she could decide on the clothes they wore. With the logical of the new world twisted one couldn't even strip them by themselves.

But even that didn't matter. Damien knew very well that Sierra could walk faster in those heels. She even could run. The problem was Zoey who forbids her to walk faster than a leisurely pace no matter the circumstances.

A sudden rush of two dozen zombies didn't mean the rule was to be paused. No. Damien and Harriet had to do their best to protect them while they walked away at a snail pace. These were the few times Damien could see real emotions on Sierra's face. The fear of the zombies that might catch up to her and the even greater fear of displeasing Zoey.

As they arrived Damien quickly entered the store and checked it out for any danger. It looked just as abandoned as the rest of the world. Slowly degrading as it was reclaimed by nature. The clothes on the shelves still stacked neatly but gathering mildew and insects that used them as food or nests.

The goal was, of course, the shiny and new looking computer terminal. There Zoey could exchange points she got by flipping soul chips for items once sold by each shop. The clothes from this store would end up on her, but mostly on her walking dress up doll Sierra.

Stepping out he gave Harriet a nod and she led both of their charges into the store. Meanwhile, Damien took up guard duty outside. He seriously hoped it wouldn't take too long as the sun was already setting and its rays turned slowly golden in the dusk.


They arrived an hour after nightfall the small shelter they called a safe house. They had reinforced the house as best as they could, but Damien had his doubt that it could withstand a bigger hoard of zombies.

But to defend it was not his duty. Once the door was barricaded he started to strip off all things he could. Guns and equipment. Clothes stayed on him as if magic held it in place and for all, he knew that might be the right explanation.

He barely had time to greet Mike, one of the night shift, when he suddenly found himself in a small familiar room. Looking around he saw the same things he always saw. A fifteen by fifteen feet room. Decorated with a table, chair, and a bed. Nothing else. Not even a bathroom. People trapped here didn't need food or anything else. They just existed.

Two years he had been trapped here and he knew he had been close to losing the only thing he still had: his mind. Sighing he let himself fall on the bed. There was nothing else to do here, but sleep or to think. With the former eluding him it was his thoughts that occupied Damien.

The man today reminded him of his own past. Just like the man and the rest of humanity Damien had found himself trapped in this small room. Three months he had to wait and endure till the first summoner found Damien's soul chip.

As he returned to the real world he had a lot of questions. Just like the man today. None had been answered. The summoner had only one for Damien. What had been his job. The answer landed him back in the room. There was no need for a third-grade math teacher in an apocalyptic world overrun by zombies.

But he hadn't known that detail. However, he remembered one detail. The armed guards beside the summoner. That small tidbit stayed with him. When he had been summoned again, about a year and ten months later, he had an answer before the question had been even said aloud. "I am a retired army vet."

The lie was flimsy at best, but it worked. Now he protected a spoiled brat of twenty-two years and a total diva. Relying on knowledge from military action movies and the one summer his cousin had taught him to shoot.

Still, it beats having to see this bleak room all the time. He could endure, but he wasn't sure for how long. One day he might just snap and be alone in this room again.


It wasn't him that snapped or Harriet. To their surprise it was Sierra. It was three months later and they just had cleared the area around another obelisk. It was these stone monuments that spawned the zombies. On ledges cut into the stone, they always found soul chips. Their theory was that the obelisk used these soul chips as a mold for the zombies. So far the theory proved right.

This time it had been easy to cut through the undead. Most of them had been young women. Damien already feared the worst. Seeing girls between sixteen and twenty-five beg for mercy always cut close to his heart than other people.

But it was Sierra who demanded they skip this haul. To just flip everyone without summoning anyone for interviews. Naturally, this angered Zoey and she hit full throttle in next to nothing. Both women shouted at each other and this was unusual too. Sierra was a diva, but this was suicidal. Harriet gave Damien a wary glance and he returned it. This wasn't good, but neither of them dared to step in.

One shout from Sierra cut through them. "I don't want to be replaced!"

A sudden silence settled over the area as it gave them all pause. Of course, Sierra must have seen them too. The zombies of the young women around them. There was a high chance these zombies had been created by the obelisk they had just cleared. She must have reasoned that one of the soul chips might contain someone that could catch Zoey's eyes.

"Maybe I should." It was Zoey's cold voice cutting through the silence. At once Sierra knew she had been gone too far. She pleaded mercy, but Damien could still hear Zoey's menacing voice. "Someone who knows how to follow orders."

Zoey's eyes wandered and leveled on Damien. At once the hairs on his neck stood up. This wasn't good. He had to do something. To his horror, he saw Zoey pull out two soul chips and he had the distinct guess one was his own.

Damien stumbled as the world around him suddenly changed. He was caught by Harriet, but that was impossible. She had been on the other side of Zoey and right beside Sierra.

"What did you do? Give me back my body!" The familiar voice made Damien's head snap around. It had been his own voice and now Damien's eyes fell upon his own body. Despite the evidence, his mind was slow to catch on. Just how was it possible?

"Switch me back or ..." Damien saw his own body level the assault rifle he had been holding on Zoey.

Harriet was struggling to level her own gun but was hindered by Damien in her arms. He managed to draw in two breath in this intense moment when it happened. The rifle clattered to the ground as Damien saw his own body vanish.

Harriet lowered Damien to the ground as his own legs have given out. Shocked he tried to make sense of the aftermath. Zoey can switch bodies. He hadn't known. Hadn't even guessed it was possible. For a brief moment, he wondered what else Zoey kept secret from them.

Then his gaze drifted downward and saw the unreal view down a female body. Sierra's body. It was too much. Damien started to hyperventilate as panic gripped him further.

It was Zoey who drew his attention as she came closer. In her hand, she had only one soul chip. Damien's. Sierra's was gone. Flipped. Along with his body. She crouched down and looked into Damien's eyes.

"Now you know how to follow orders, right?" she asked in a calm voice. It threw Damien's panic off by the sheer absurdity. She just had robbed him of his body and now she was talking to him as if nothing was wrong in the world. As if she was talking to a little girl at a Sunday picnic. "You will be nice and do everything I ask, right?"

Damien had feared a lot of things in his forty-two years of his life, but never something so much like this crazy woman before him. She had trapped him in a body not his own, but he knew it could be worse. She could find another body for him that was worse or she could banish him to the small room.

There was no choice. Not a real one anyway. Reluctantly he nodded. "I will be good for you," he managed to squeeze out. Nearly stopping over how different his voice sounded now.

"Good. Come on. Up with you," she cheerfully told him. With Harriett's help, he slowly got up. His legs shaking as he tried to balance himself on the high heels.

"Like a newborn giraffe," Zoey exclaimed. "Don't worry. I will teach you, Damien. No. Can't call you that. Sierra either. Always hated her name anyway. How about .. Danni? Do you like that Danni?"

Damien swallowed hard. He had always known that Zoey was crazy and unreachable by normal logic, but this was something new. She was clearly mental and now more than ever he felt helpless in her grasp. "I like it. Thank you," he lied and tried his best to sound convincing.

"Yay!" Zoey shouted. Earning a flinch from Harriet and Damien.

"Then let us find a new guard. You can help me."

Damien saw a look of heavy sympathy on Harriet's face before she turned away. With Damien stuck in Sierra's body she alone was now responsible for their protection. With still shaking legs he joined Zoey to go through the soul chips. All the while wondering what he did to deserve this fate.


Danni sighed as she entered the shelter. There was no more Damien left. Unrelenting Zoey had whittled away at him and reshaping him into her. All mannerisms were now female as each male one was meticulously pointed out by Zoey.

By now Danni could walk well in her high heels but still would give anything to get them off her feet. But there was no break. She couldn't even remove them. Only Zoey could and she wouldn't even remove them for sleep.

Another day has passed of strutting through a deteriorating city as if it was a catwalk. Today she had gotten yet another lesson about makeup from Zoey. Not that Danni could apply it herself, but Zoey still insisted on drilling theoretical knowledge into her. What eyeliner and eyeshadow for what occasion and so on. It was nuts. In this world, there would be no more parties to attend to.

Still, Danni knew arguing was futile with Zoey. And that was the hardest part. Not the dressing up in flimsy dresses and high heels and walking around abandoned streets in sixty degrees Fahrenheit, or the endless lessons. It was to bear it all with a grin.

She gave Harriet a small wave before she and Eugene, her replacement guard, was unsummoned. A moment later Mike and Mae appeared to take the evening and night shift. She was especially grateful for Mae who started a small fire to cook dinner.

Now that Danni was Zoey's companion and dress up doll she wasn't unsummoned anymore. That, in turn, meant that her bodily function wasn't reset every day. Once again she had to eat, drink and do other bodily functions. To her horror, there was a new one and the first time she had her period Harriet needed a hold her for a minute while she was crying. It was only the murmured warning that she might upset Zoey that pulled Danni back.

It was late and Danni was about to excuse herself for the night when it happened. Something triggered a car alarm close by. That was strange in itself. Most car batteries had been dried out by now. But it was worse because Danni herself had disconnected every car alarm in a block's radius. Back when she still had been Damien.

Mike ordered Zoey and Danni upstairs and for once Zoey listened without hesitation. Danni was nearly at the top of the staircase when a shot broke the silence and a heavy impact could be heard. Danni had to know what caused it and managed two steps down before Mike saw her and ordered her upstairs again. Just enough time to see Mae's body and the pool of blood slowly expanding around her head.

Inching back she saw Zoey. For the first time, she had a look of panic on her face. "Can't you summon the other guards?" Danni urged her.

She got a shake of a head and a whispered "cooldown" as a reply.

A moment later Mike joined them upstairs. Just in time for all hell to break loose. Dozens of guns started to fire and Danni heard the rounds slam downstairs into walls and furniture. There was no doubt about it. Outside was another summoner and he was clearly hostile.

Once again the stupidity of Zoey was evident as she had chosen a small one family house as a safe zone. Just because it looked nice. Now bullets tore through plywood walls as if they were paper sheets.

Mike pushed upwards with his rifle and opened a hatch to the attic. There was no latter so Mike grabbed Zoey to push her up. To their surprise, Zoey struggled and slipped his grasp. "She first," Zoey insisted. Both Mike and Danni looked as if they had been slapped. Another spur of crazy by Zoey at the worst time.

Danni found her voice first. "The sooner I am up there the faster she can go up too." Mike nodded and offered his hands for Danni to step onto. It was hard because of the high heels, but once Danni had a step he pushed her up. Once through the hatch, she grabbed a wooden beam.

As she was up Danni turned around to help with Zoey. Instead, she found Mike holding something else up for her. Quickly her hand closed around the heavy pistol and placed it on the floor beside her.

"Now Zoey. Quick," she urged Mike.

There was no reply as the glass of a window shattered and Mike staggered back. Even in the darkness, Danni could see the wet glistening of blood. A moment later Mike tumbled down the stairs.

"Danni? Help me up," Zoey said in a shaken voice. It was clear that she was close to panic herself.

"It's too far. I can't reach you," Danni replied. "Stay calm and make yourself as small as you can. Maybe they will think we are all dead and move on. Wait for the cooldown to end. Harriet and Eugene will keep us safe."

There was nothing but silence, but Danni could see Zoey's silhouette cowering down right beneath the hatch. Now they had to wait.

Half an hour later the storm of bullets ended. What followed was eerie silence. Exhaustion and adrenaline battled within Danni and she struggled to stay awake. Now was the time to stay most vigilant. The attackers might decide to sneak in.

Still, there was nothing. The only change was the clouds outside drifting away and letting in more of the pale moonlight. It found its way in through a small skylight and illuminated Zoey. Her body still shaking with fear.

Danni was about to whisper to her when a sound broke the silence.

Down in the basement, they could hear wood splintering. "Danni?" came the barely audible question from Zoey.

"I am here. Stay quiet," Danni whispered back.

Danni strained her ears to hear anything and soon she heard it. She shambling and moaning of an undead. Only one as far as she could tell. It was a wonder really. They had chosen the area because it was far away from the obelisks that spawned zombies. Still, there should be a lot more. It was a lucky break for them. One that didn't matter as the sounds from the undead came slowly closer to the staircase.

"How long for the cooldowns?" Danni whispered.

"An hour," came the weak reply.

Still, there had to be another way. "Don't you have anyone else to summon?" Danni wanted to know.

She nearly cursed out loud when a faint "No" came back.

Once again she cursed the stupidity of Zoey. If she died it would mean Danni too would return to the dreaded small room. Who knew how long she had to wait to be summoned again and if she would be still sane by that time.

It was unavoidable unless she found a way to cheat the system and that gave her an idea. "Zoey! You once said a summoner can make other summoners, right?"

"Yes! B-but the cooldown is universal. Even if you are a summoner you can't summon the others," Zoey explained in a hurried whisper.

Danni was stumped. This possibility hadn't even occurred to her. Not that it mattered. Danni pushed onward on her original plan. "Listen. Sorry, but I can't save you from up here. But I don't wanna end up in that small room again. It's horrible and you won't be there," she lied. It was true that she would do anything to avoid the room, but she could do without Zoey.

"Zoey I need you to be strong now. That zombie will kill you. I can't change that and you can't either." The sobbing from below clued her in how much Danni's words had hit home. "But we still can be together. If you make me a summoner then I can get your soul chip. I can summon you and then I make you a summoner again. Nothing will change. We will be together just like before."

While Danni was catching her breath she listened to the sobbing below her. Maybe she needed to push more for her plan to work. She was about to say more when things changed. There was an energy filling her and a moment later words and menus. It was so alien and yet it reminded her again of the games her nephew used to play. It showed her once again how absurdly twisted the world had become.

Still, she knew now her plan had worked. Zoey made her a summoner and with it had cut Danni's strings binding her to Zoey.

"Danni?! Help! Please!" The pleading downstairs broke Danni's triumph. Right now there wasn't the egotistical and crazy woman Danni knew. Only a scared little girl about to be killed horribly by an undead.

Danni's hand moved on instinct to the pistol. The gun was cold and heavy in her hand. Still, she picked it up and aimed it down the hatch where a shambling silhouette made its way upstairs. The loud bang that tore through the silence didn't shock her as much as the pain that flared through her hand. Grunting, her other hand clutched her wrist as if she could keep the pain away.

"Danni?! You shoot it! You ... you aren't supposed to shoot things. You are a model! I told you that you aren't allowed to use guns!"

The shouting broke through the haze of pain and reminded Danni of Zoey. The real Zoey. Not the one that she had pitied a moment ago. No. The manic one without a sense of reason. Now she made more sound than a horde of undead.

Danni at once regretted saving her. With shooting the undead she had made clear that someone was still alive. If the hostile summoner was still around Danni had doomed them both.

"Fuck it," Danni pressed out through pain and grinding teeth. Once again she aimed and pressed the trigger.

Pain shot through her arm and she barely heard the gun's impact on the floor below. The kickback of it clearly had damaged her wrist. In that moment everything was unimportant. All Danni could do was to clutch her hand against her chest. It was then that exhaustion and fatigue slowly wrestled consciousness away from her.


Danni woke as she turned in her sleep and new pain flared through her wrist. Her eyes flew open and she needed a moment to remember what happened. Immediately two things were on her mind. She was a summoner now and she was hurt.

By now it was hours later and daylight shone through the small windows of the attic. Illuminated by a single ray of sunshine was one of her heels. It hadn't been possible before to slip off her feet, but now as a summoner, the rules for her had changed.

As illogical as it was her first instinct was to kick off the other heel. Then she carefully took off the skimpy top that Zoey had called fashionable. A hiss of pain escaped her lips as she wrapped it around her wrist. It would have to do till she found better things to make a splint and arrest her hand.

The next logical step was to go downstairs. Up in the attic, she would surely die. Not from zombies, but hunger and thirst. As far as she could tell the house was empty. No new undead, but she could be wrong. Looking through the hatch she didn't see a lot. Both, Mike and the Zombies bodies had vanished. On the lowest step, she could see Mike's rifle that had tumbled down with him.

Directly below her was more interesting. Zoey's body was gone too, but below her, on the floor, she could see the heavy pistol and soul chips. She knew those vanished after about a day and returned to a random obelisk. Danni had to get down before they did turn into thin air.

On her belly, she let her legs hang and slowly pushed herself with her good hand towards the hatch. Just when her belly button was past the hatch she lost her grip and she slid downward in a split second. She landed painfully on her feet and one folded under the pressure. With a heavy crash, she landed close to the staircase.

Blinking through the pain Danni pulled herself to the soul chips. Tears obscured her view, but she still had enough in her to find the soul chip she needed.

Harriet appeared beside her and she was quick to look around. "Danni! What happened?" she demanded to know. "The summoning is late. Where is Zoey."

It took all the strength she could muster, but Danni held up a soul chip with a lopsided grin on her face. "Here," she said triumphantly. "I am the summoner now. Need help though."

Thankfully Harriet was quick on the uptake. "Can you summon Eugene?"

Danni nodded and a moment later he joined them. Summoned from the realm of horrible little rooms. Harriet took a moment to instruct him and he started to secure the house. "I take it your wrist is hurt?" Harriet asked while peeling away the makeshift bandage.

Danni nodded. "Fired that pistol over there," she pressed out through gritted teeth. "Took down an undead."

Harriet nodded. "That explains it. This gun has a kick like a mule. Without training how to hold it, it can do serious damage."

"Well I had to fire it twice," Danni admitted. "Couldn't resist blowing Zoey's brains out."

Harriet remained quiet, but Danni was sure that she had seen a small fleeting smile on her face.

"No hostiles in the area," Eugene told them as he came back. "What now boss?"

It had been lurking in her mind before, but now it dawned on her. She was now in charge. Instead of answering a hiss of pain escaped her. Harriet had pulled tight an improvised splint and the pain made Danni see stars for a moment.

After catching her breath she tried to shrug it off and play cool. "First off no more pseudo-military speak. I trust you both and you are capable. So how about we cut the crap?"

Harriet and Eugene glanced at each other before giving Danni a small shared smile.

"I served ten years," Harriet proudly told her.

"Made one tour and joined the police force just before ... this happened," Eugene threw in.

"Oh great. So I am the only phony one?" Danni demanded to know.

"Pretty much, but at least you were good at acting," Harriet told her gently.

"All right. I give up. Clearly, I am unqualified. Harriet, you are in charge now. No more stupid decision by a summoner. No stupid shoes, makeup, and useless errands. Just keep us safe. Deal?"

"Deal," she told Danni and shook her good hand. "Can you get up? We need to find a safe-house that qualifies for the name."

"I hope so. I might have strained my ankle coming down from the attic," Danni truthfully admitted.

At once Harriet took a look and found the ankle tender, but not too badly bruised. "Should be okay, but there is another problem. Could you try to relax your feet?"

"They already are," Danni corrected her confused.

"Okay, let's try something. Tell me if this hurts," Harriet instructed her.

She pushed Danni's foot slightly upwards and at once Danni winced in pain.

"Danni. Where are your heels?" Harriet wanted to know.

"Those cursed things are up in the attic," Danni spat with passion

"Eugene. Go get them," Harriet instructed him.

"Oh hell no!" groaned Danni.

"Sorry, but this is the consequence of wearing very high heels for too long. Your tendons shortened along with some supporting muscles. There is only one way to walk out of this house for you. With heels on."

"Oh fuck me sideways," Danni spat with gusto.

"Is that a serious offer?" Eugene joked.

Grumbling Danni snatched the offered heels with her good hand and tried to slip them on. A moment later she was helped by Harriet.

"And here I thought I was done strutting around like playing Miss Apocalypse 2020"

She got a heartfelt pat on the shoulder and was lifted upwards. "At least we know you hadn't chosen to be a spoiled princess," Eugene offered.

Danni gave a sarcastic laugh as she leaned on Eugene to leave this shoot to cheese imitating house.


Three years later Danni wasn't a spoiled princess. Much to her sense of irony, everyone called her queen. She wished they wouldn't, but this was the consequence of her actions.

Once safe Danni had started to explore her abilities as a summoner and found out the depth of Zoey's betrayal. It had been awfully easy to expand her own guards to ten. But this was not what brought her fame. It had been equally easy to make other people summoners. Expensive, yet feasible. Their world was now twisted, but Danni vowed to rebuild it. For this cause, she recruited new summoners that proved loyal to her. Resulting in the growing domain around her that swore loyalty to Danni.

Of course, the system was still flawed. In order to promote so many people to being summoners, many soul chips had to be flipped to gain the points to do so. Here another betrayal of Zoey came to light. A summoner could connect rooms in the other worlds. Create corridors and entertainment rooms. Alleviate the harsh madness of this alternative world.

Danni let herself fall into her chair in the middle of her compound. Her guards and subjects had brought her another few dozen of soul chips. By now it was her duty to judge the trapped people if they had it in them to be a guard for someone or to be a summoner themselves. Even if she had to flip them Danni made sure to connect them to the growing network of rooms. For that reason alone it made sense to pool all soul chips and let one person look through them.

It had been a long day already and Danni took a moment to slip out of her heels and massage her feet. They still were stuck in a half "en pointe" position. Much to Danni's dismay. But it couldn't be helped. Like the light pain still sometimes flaring up where her broken wrist hadn't properly healed.

"Let's hope there aren't too much Looney's in this batch," Danni commented softly and she got an agreeing grunt from behind. Of course, Harriet was behind her. Her most trusted guard, who refused time and time again to become a summoner herself.

It was the eighth summon that made Danni open her eyes in shock. She knew that face. It hadn't aged a day in the other world. Finally, she had found "him".

Of course, "he" recognized her too. "That is my body! You thief! Give it back!"

The man suddenly vanished and Danni needed a moment to process what happened. She had flipped "him" on instinct. Had given away her chance to return to her original body.

A hand softly settled on her shoulder. "He was clearly a looney," came the sympathetic voice of Harriet from behind her. "Clearly delusional from the years in isolation. You had to flip him."

Danni nodded, but internally she wasn't so sure. Had it been right? Maybe it had been selfish. After all these years and hardships maybe she had grown fond of this body. Earned it too. Maybe. For now, Danni pushed the matter aside. There were more souls to connect and her work wasn't done. Not by a long shot.

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